So Let's Get The Voting On!
Astro* - Seventeen - SHINee
Got7 - VIXX - BTOB - B.A.P - SS301
February chill bites at your skin, snickering as it transforms into wind and disappears out the open window. You don’t mind, though, it helps take away the warmth in your cheeks and delivers the scent of rain. But it fails to carry your anxiety out into the open, the worries you had been harboring since the week prior. Don’t worry, (Y/N), you’re going to be great, you think to yourself, staring at the reflection in the mirror. Because how could he reject you, the intelligent girl who had a wealthy background?
You slip your backpack and shoes on, saying goodbye to the empty space. Mom and Dad are already at work, the maids and servants are busy taking care of the house - as they should be. With a little contempt, you mess up the order of the seemingly infinite pairs of shoes, leaving them with a little more work. But when you came home this evening, you could just say that you were rushed out in a hurry, it was an accident, could they please forgive you? And they couldn’t say no. Who could say no to you?
“(Y/N)! Can I have the homework answers for page thirty-one? I didn’t get to finish last night.” You look up in alarm as your friend, Yerim, walks over to you, who is already unzipping your backpack.
“We had homework? Why didn’t you tell me?” you ask, an edge entering your voice. Memories of yesterday evening come back quickly - writing a letter in your best handwriting, tucking the envelope away in your folder, retying a pastel blue ribbon for the fourth time. The only homework you had completed was English and mathematics. How could you have forgotten this assignment worth 50 points?
“Yah, you think I have time to remind you of every single thing assigned to us? Come on, let’s go find someone who did it …” She glances around, her intent gaze landing on Park Sunhee, the typical quiet student who finishes her homework the moment she gets home. Of course she would have completed it.
“Sunhee, get over here!” you call, waving at her. She hesitates, then smiles a little. There is fear in her eyes as she walks over, because she knows - she knows. She does not need to be reminded of what could happen to her if she doesn’t hand over the answers, she does not need any nudging to avoid what you and your friends could do to her. Everyone has seen you tug at a classmate’s hair, empty a backpack’s contents all over the desk, vandalize another student’s desk with insults, embarrass someone else to an extreme. She knows.
But she doesn’t know how cold your heart turns when you do these actions. No one knows how much you want to stop, how much you want to say you are sorry for starting something you didn’t even realize you were doing. All of the cruel words that escaped your lips were accidents, actions were unconscious instincts. You hate it. You hate how you have evolved to become a monster with a frozen heart.
Answers, whispered threats, and a mocking pat on the head is exchanged in less than five minutes. You and Yerim watch Sunhee head to class, satisfied at your dependable little pet. “She isn’t that bad,” Yerim comments, slamming her locker shut. “Come on, we’ll be late for class.”
The bell rings as you say, “No, you go on ahead. I have to get something else.” She shrugs and joins the stream of students, abandoning you and the few others lingering around the lockers. When she is out of sight, you bring out the envelope, reading the words you wrote in pink: For Jung Hoseok.
Hoseok is the person you keep in the corner of your eye - whether it is choosing seats in class, eating in the lunchroom, or playing sports during gym, you make sure he is in your field of vision. He resembles a shooting star, soaring across the darkness with his own brilliance. The laughter that bursts from his soul is music to your ears, his smile a dazzling work of art.
It’s his warmth that draws you to him, perhaps of your longing to destroy the cold inside of you. You can forget that you threatened Sunhee to get the homework answers if you see his laughing face, you can forget all of your past mistakes if you hear his voice. And more and more often, you find yourself wishing you could tell him how you feel, not just about him, but about yourself, and about others. You want him to listen to the thoughts that trouble you at night, only him to melt the growing ice. Who else could defeat it, if not him? No one. No one else can.
“Yah, I’m going to take a snack - oh? Hoseok, there’s a letter for you! From a girl!” Jimin whoops, pulling out your envelope. He’s already opening it when Hoseok and Taehyung come to join him.
“Who is it from?” Jungkook asks, grabbing a bag of chips from Hoseok’s locker before it is slammed shut. “Read it out loud!”
Hoseok clears his throat, grinning. “Dear Jung Hoseok, please come to the rooftop after school today. There’s a lot I’d like to say, but I don’t think I could convey it in words. I hope this is convenient for you. From -” He pauses, raising protests from his friends, then says, “(Y/N).” Once he says your name aloud, his eyes widen and glance back down at the paper. Was that right?
The boys let out a loud oooh, except for Seokjin. He notices the downcast expression on Hoseok’s face. “Hm? What’s wrong?” he asks, throwing an arm around his shoulder.
Hoseok hesitates, then says, “I don’t really like her… she’s constantly bothering someone one way or another. What should I do, hyung?” He looks to Yoongi and Seokjin, the only two that are acting sane at the moment. Your name brings many different reactions - longing in certain students, jealousy in others, and for the poor handful that you have picked on, fear.
Yoongi audibly hmms, reaching over to steal a chip from Jungkook. “I think you should go meet her, just to hear what she has to say. It might not be anything important, you know?” Hoseok nods, more assured now but still wearing a frown.
“Tell us how it goes, okay?” Namjoon claps him on the back, getting a hajima from Hoseok. The six boys gather their belongings and leave the room, discussing which karaoke place they want to try next. Your shooting star stands there, rereading the note. “I suppose she’s waiting,” he mutters to himself, grabs his backpack, and heads for the stairs.
It’s raining outside, so you wait underneath the roof hanging. In your hands is the present you prepared for him the night before: a box of chocolates, tied with the blue ribbon that always seemed to stray from perfection. Your heart is beating unusually fast, despite the words you keep whispering to yourself: “It’s going to be okay, he will accept it. You’ll be fine.”
“(Y/N)?” You whirl around and find Hoseok. He waves around the envelope in his hand, smiling. “What’s up?”
“A-ah,” you stutter. “Sorry for making you come up here, I didn’t know it would rain today.” You instinctively tuck a lock of hair behind your ear, nervous now that he was here.
He shrugs. “It’s okay. What did you want to talk about?”
You take a breath - inhale, exhale, then hold out your present. “Today is February 14, and I was hoping you’d accept these.” Words are rushing through your lips quickly, like water in a stream. “I don’t know when exactly I started to notice you, but it must have been for a long time because now, whenever I see you, there is this bubbling feeling that starts in my heart and spreads throughout my entire self, and I don’t know if this is just a ‘like’ or a ‘love,’ but I want to cherish it and share it with you.” I want you to banish the cold inside of me, please help me become someone else, you want to add, but you swallow those words away.
You don’t dare look into his eyes, only staring at his hands. They move hesitantly, taking the chocolates. “Thank you,” he says carefully. “But I don’t think I can accept the meaning behind your gift.”
“What?” Your shock escapes immediately, disgust attached to the lingering word. You can see his eyes widen, and feel your face contort. “Why? Is there someone else?”
“No, it’s not that -”
“Then what? What is -”
“Yah!” You stop. “(Y/N), are you going to listen to me?” He sighs, looking up at the gray sky. The clouds are still crying. After a moment, he says, “I’m not currently in love with anyone, I don’t think I will be for awhile. But that isn’t the main reason why I’m saying ‘no.’” Hoseok turns to you, any traces of his usual self blown away. “I can’t accept you for you.”
“Give me a month,” you blurt out. Your vision is blurring from the tears. “By March 14, I’ll be different. I’ll change.”
There is only the sound of the rain and distant thunder filling in the spaces of this lulling confession. He doesn’t respond for a long time, only staring at the clouds. You stare at the puddles on the ground, the unclear reflections of you and him. The frigidness inside is mixing with the rainy weather, and you begin to shiver, your hands shaking.
“Okay.” Hoseok turns to you, nodding his head. “One month. After school, let’s meet here.” He opens the box of chocolates and pops one into his mouth, then offers one to you.
“Thank you, Hoseok,” you whisper. “Thank you.”
You don’t mess up the shoes anymore. You keep your room clean. You don’t demand for more money than you are given. You finish your homework on time. Your change throws everyone off - your parents are pleased at your steadily rising grades, the maids and servants are flustered at this tamer personality, and your classmates murmur about what caused it all. The pressure must have gotten to her… Her parents threatened her… Someone fought against her! … Maybe this is all just an act.
March 14 arrives. You check your locker, and there are already three letters asking to meet during lunch. You tuck them away in your pocket, a little disappointed that none of them were from Jung Hoseok. You wonder how you are going to decline them.
“(Y/N)! Give me the homework answers for English.” Yerim has her pencil ready, but you shake your head as you realize that you forgot to do your reading assignment for last night. “What? Ahh, not this again. Sunhee-yah!”
She moves towards Sunhee, who is already unpacking her bag to get the paper. You follow Yerim, the cold you’ve been avoiding all month taking hold of you once more. This was wrong. You couldn’t do this - not because of your promise to Hoseok, but because it was immoralizing.
Before you open your mouth to say anything, Sunhee pulls away. “No,” she whispers. “I won’t give you the answers.”
Yerim’s eyes widens, as do your own - her’s in shock, yours in awe. “What? Don’t be silly, Sunhee, just give us the paper,” your friend says, trying to close the space between, but your classmate continues to step backward. You see Yerim’s eyes darken, and you know what will happen.
She starts pushing her back roughly, her voice rising. “Who do you think you are, to not do what we ask? Give us the answers, you loser!” Sunhee starts to cry, clutching the paper to her chest as she shakes her head continuously.
Yerim lifts her hand, ready to strike her. You gasp and grab her wrist, struggling against her strength. The cold that was building up is suddenly extinguished, leaving you with an unfamiliar heat. She looks at you in anger, then the sudden realization that is not just any person who has prevented her from what is her instinct - it’s you.
“(Y/N)? What are you doing?” she scoffs, yanking her hand away. “What’s gotten into you lately? You’ve been acting weird this whole past month. You’re not the (Y/N) I know.”
“Then you never knew me,” you whisper, and walk past her to the stairs.
Hoseok is standing underneath the hanging, trying to make a story out of the clouds. He doesn’t feel like attending class today, he much prefers greeting spring’s arrival and saying goodbye to winter’s bitterness. “Just one day,” he promises himself, vowing that he won’t skip another class after today.
He hears the door open and is surprised to see you rush onto the roof, rubbing at your eyes. You don’t notice him until he calls your name.
“Ah, Hoseok -” You wipe away the last of the tears that had sprouted after you had walked away from Yerim. Why did I start crying? you think, laughing a little at how pathetic it seems. “Why are you here?”
“It’s just one of those days,” he replies simply.
You stand with him in companionable silence. There is light rain falling softly, soaking the city. Even in the chilly weather, you feel warm next to him. Just his presence - all of his laughter, silly replies he’s said during class, funny faces he’s made on purpose - brings memories of what happened just a month before. He’s moving around restlessly, as if he is trapped by some greater force.
“Hoseok?” you say. “Could I get an answer… now?”
He turns to face you, unsure of what to say. His heartbeat accelerates as he remembers how he watched you when he was sure you weren’t aware. Because your change has not gone unnoticed - he fully accepts the way you say thank you and excuse me when before you hadn’t said anything at all, he loves how radiant your smile is when you joke with your friends, he is proud that you do not bully your classmates anymore. And he is sure that you have changed for the better.
You feel his arms wrap around you, pulling you close to him. “I was going to put an envelope in your locker and bring you a box of chocolates after school and everything, but you didn’t even give me the chance!” he murmurs in your ear, and you laugh, your cheeks warming up. Tentatively, you wrap your own arms around him, pulling away to look up at his face.
“You know how I used to bully Sunhee and the others?” you say quietly. “I would always feel cold afterwards, as if there were ice growing inside of me. But whenever I saw you, it felt like I was warmer again.” You beam at him, and he laughs.
“Oh? Look, the rain stopped.” You pull away from him, awed at the sudden silence. He points up, and you see a rainbow shining brightly from among the gray.
“Thank you.” For opening my eyes, for giving me a second chance, for the warmth you don’t even know you radiate, thank you for everything.
Tagging all the beauties! 💕
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